WILMINGTON, N.C. – No. 10 East Carolina was unable to capitalize on early offensive opportunities Tuesday night as UNCW downed ECU 8-5 in a non-conference affair at Brooks Field.

The Pirates (12-4) and Seahawks (10-7) recorded 10 hits apiece, but East Carolina ended up leaving 15 runners on base.

Luke Craig (1-0) ended up as the winning pitcher in relief, allowing just one earned run on five hits in 3.1 innings of work with a walk and four strikeouts. Ethan Chenault notched his second save of the campaign by recording the final four outs. Jake Hunter (0-1) was saddled with his first loss of the year after surrendering three runs on three hits in 3.0 innings. He finished his outing fanning five hitters against no walks.

Jacob Starling and Joey Berini collected two hits apiece with Berini scoring a run and tallying an RBI. Trevor Marsh paced UNCW’s offensive efforts with a pair of hits, a run scored and two RBI.

The East Carolina offense got off to a fast start as Luke Nowak and Starling drew walks to lead off the contest before Josh Moylan sent an RBI single right back up the middle to put the Pirates ahead 1-0. Justin Wilcoxen was hit by a pitch to load the bases with one out, but starter Case Stroup wiggled out of the jam with a fielder’s choice and grounder to short. Hunter made sure the lead stayed intact, impressively striking out the side in the home half of the initial frame.

ECU loaded the bases once more in the second, drawing another pair of walks as part of the half inning, but a grounder to third was handled by Jac Croom and he completed the throw over to strand the runners. UNCW put up three hits in its portion of the second, including a couple of bunt singles, to produce a three spot and grab a 3-1 advantage.

The Pirates drew within one in the third as Wilcoxen singled to begin the inning and Berini laced an RBI double down the left field line, but the Seahawks answered right back and plated four in the fourth thanks to some clutch two-out hitting that pushed their lead to 7-2.

The back-and-forth flow continued in the fifth as East Carolina mounted another charge. A Berini single and Cam Clonch walk was followed by a double off the left field wall by Alec Makarewicz that drove home Berini and cut the Pirate deficit to four. Ryley Johnson then plated Clonch with a grounder that deflected off Luke Craig on the mound to make it 7-4, but a strikeout cut the frame short.

UNCW threatened to pull further ahead, loading the bases with a walk and two infield singles, but Erik Ritchie froze Taber Mongero with a breaking ball to escape trouble. The Seahawks were able to break through again in the sixth, manufacturing a run to pull back ahead by four. Brock Wills struck out swinging to start the frame but reached first on a wild pitch before eventually scoring on another infield hit.

ECU added a run to its total in the eighth via an RBI single by pinch hitter Ryan McCrystal, then loaded the bases after a great at bat from Clonch, but Chenault managed a strikeout on a full count to keep his side up by three. The Pirates could not get anything going in the top of the ninth, going down in order to close out the evening.

Postgame Notes Graphic
  • East Carolina dropped to 3-3 in true road games in 2023.
  • ECU notched double-digit hits for the third-straight contest and ninth this season.
  • Moylan extended his hitting streak to nine games while Starling reached base safely for the 24th-straight outing.
  • The Pirate pitching staff struck out 15 batters, marking the eighth time this season ECU has reached double figures.
  • East Carolina got five of its leadoff hitters on base but was just 5-for-24 (.208) with runners on base.

Up Next: ECU returns to Greenville for a Wednesday non-conference bout with William & Mary at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m.